It enabled her to hear The Shop Girl when she was temporarily absent from the show through illness.
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She explains:. There was also an attachment like a stethoscope with little tubes which fitted into your ears. Over it you heard the show, and although it was by no means as clear and good as modern radio, still it served its purpose and we thought it was wonderful. The Electrophone Company had a salon at its headquarters in Pelican House, Gerrard Street, where listeners sat, often wearing evening dress in the early days, and listened over headphones.
The system was also available in some hospitals, but the usual practice was to subscribe to the service and ask an operator to connect your telephone to the site of your choice. In , all the main London operetta theatres were available. Terriss considered it a forerunner of radio, and, indeed, it was radio that drove the electrophone into oblivion in the summer of The arrival of radio effected a change in music dissemination.
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William Boosey declared that the radio broadcasting of music was what decided Chappell to abandon concert giving. Berry were soon engaged.
At this time, the station was attracting an audience of over ,, and issuing a weekly magazine, Radio Wien. Denis Freeman , and the musical suite that Weill made of this work had already been transmitted on 10 March Radio offered opportunities for new compositions.
Technologies for people
Marzalek commissioned him to compose a Dance Suite for radio, and it was broadcast on 8 September A stage version did not appear until In the early days of film, stage actors had generally been scornful about the new medium, but with the advent of sound film it became common for actors to combine a cinema and theatre career, especially since earnings tended to be higher in film. Stars crossing from film to stage could prove less trustworthy, especially in the days of silent film.
When Charles Dillingham acquired the American rights of Madame Pompadour , there were rumours that Metropolitan Opera diva Geraldine Farrar, or even Fritzi Massary, might take the title role, but the part was, at length, given to silent screen star Hope Hampton. There were links between film and stage from the beginning. Klaw and Erlanger formed a film company in and were soon joined by a major studio, the Biograph Company. They must have believed profits were assured because of the number of theatres they had at their disposal, but the prices they charged were too high and it folded in three years.
Lawrence Weber who, as secretary of the Producer Managers Association was associated with several motion picture companies. Several of these companies listed their address as the Longacre Theatre, revealing how film and theatre businesses were working in cooperation. The film rights to Der letzte Walzer , which Blumenthal and Rachman had sold to United Plays, Broadway, were purchased by the Shuberts in October , but they failed to make the film within three years, as stipulated in the contract. Operettas provided the subject matter of a number of classic films of the silent era.
Unfortunately, a large number of silent films have either been lost or no longer exist. Early silent films were on a single reel, and thus short in duration; multi-reel films were a feature of the second decade of the twentieth century. In the s, there were critics ready to argue for the artistic status of film. Cultural historian Egon Friedell maintained that, like other art forms, film had areas of activity and effects that were subject to its own generic laws; moreover, he believed it was the art that represented contemporary times most clearly and completely.
The Parisian scenes come later. Leach had not yet become the film star known as Cary Grant, and did not appear in the Warner Brothers and Vitaphone film version directed by Ray Enright in The screenplay and dialogue was by Walter Anthony, and the location and time was East Africa during the First World War, when it was under German rule.
The cast was a mixture of British and American. Dawn played by Vivienne Segal is white but has been assured that once in many years African girls are born white and beloved of the god Mulungu. She is, of course, rescued. A year later, contrasting with the overheated acting of Golden Dawn , G.
Her blank expression operates as a mask, but the effect is to force a critical position onto the viewer, something for which Brecht constantly strove in his epic theatre. The film credits make clear that the screenplay is frei nach Brecht freely after Brecht and not his stage play.
In the film, for instance, there is a burglary at the London department store Selfridges. The musical director was the competent Theo Mackeben, but neither Kurt Weill nor Brecht were pleased with this version of Die Dreigroschenoper and took Pabst to court. Tonfilmoperette was a major part of the entertainment culture of the Weimar Republic.
During the s, some theatres in Vienna were closing or screening films see Chapter 3. Even the Theater an der Wien was operating mainly as a cinema in In Germany, Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft, better known as Ufa, which had been founded in , was absorbing other companies, but did not enjoy any kind of monopoly. Ufa presented the only serious European challenge to Hollywood, and its international success lay in operettas and comedies. Versions of these were often shot in three languages: German, English, and French. Rainer Rother has explained that musical films of this period derived their popular appeal by creating laughter in the face of economic depression, and this they achieved through irony.
Its humour is infectious and the three best friends who are rivals for the hand of a wilful young woman resolve their differences amicably in the end.
Die Tränen der Königin
And it is the end of the film that is most surprising, because it shows that Brecht was not isolated in his ideas about breaking frame in dramatic representation and reminding audiences of the mechanics of the construction of representational forms. The stars of the film, Lilian Harvey and Willy Fritsch, are shown stepping through theatre curtains and suddenly noticing that the cinema audience is staring at them. They wonder why nobody has left; the show is over. They rapidly realize that the audience wants a proper operetta finale, and only then will be satisfied that it is the end.
But here it is, before the post has arrived. The spectacular scenery that could be shown on film enthralled those who were stuck in the city in the depression years and yearned to travel see Chapter 7. A film like Die Blume von Hawaii of , directed by Richard Oswald, appealed to the tourist impulse. For most people Hawaii was an unattainable destination, and yet here it could be seen on screen: the palm trees, the sea hitting the rocks, and so forth.
However, out-door production offered more than travel brochure information or beauty of landscape, it added to the apparent naturalism of film compared to the pseudorealistic decorative effect of stage scenery. German silent films were often out-door films, but studio filming increased from the mids. Composing for film could prove profitable. When Ufa reorganized under a new general manager, Ludwig Klitzsch, in , financing and production became separate units.
The production-unit system was also being established at a similar time in Hollywood.
Carl Hoffman, a renowned cameraman, and also a director, set an example of how camera mobility and sound could work together in this film. Three careless young friends suddenly gone bankrupt buy a filling station with the proceeds of their car; there they devote themselves to flirting with a pretty girl who time and again turns up in her roadster — a dalliance which after some emotional confusion logically ends with one of the three rivals winning out. The refreshing idea of shifting the operetta paradise from its traditional locales to the open road was supported by the eccentric use made of music.
Full of whims, the score constantly interfered with the half-rational plot, stirring characters and even objects to behave in a frolicsome manner. Instead of perceiving innovative ways in which music and sound are used, he finds the score eccentric and full of whims. Elaborate rather than light-winged, this superoperetta with its agreeable melodies and intelligent structural twists amounted to a compendium of all imaginable operetta motifs. Some of them set a fashion.
Particularly frequent were imitations of that sequence of Congress Dances in which Lilian Harvey on her drive through the countryside passes various kinds of people who all take up the song she sings from her carriage. He sees it merely as a fashionable gimmick to be imitated. When a stage operetta became a film, the tendency was to reduce musical content and increase dialogue, perhaps because musical numbers often seem static and undramatic on film.
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In addition, the music was mediated differently. During the early s, it is instructive to see the impact on performers when they move from a theatre stage to a film studio and are faced with a camera instead of a live audience. Film may seem to be an all-embracing medium, but it has its own conventions, even if they are subject to change with the passing of time. There were a range of conventional shot positions in the s, the most common being the long shot, the mid-shot often used for two actors in the same scene , and the close-up head and shoulders.
The relationship of the performer to the camera is important. If the performer sings to camera, it emphasizes the performance act, breaking with naturalistic illusion. There are many differences between working to camera and working with a live audience. In a theatre, a performer can turn unexpectedly to a section of the audience in any part of the auditorium. Filmmakers like to edit shots; they do not want performers choosing which camera to turn to.
The German Lands and Eastern Europe
This screen operetta was later turned into a stage operetta, Blossom Time book by Rodney Ackland , produced at the Lyric Theatre in Being of Jewish ancestry, he found it necessary to move to London permanently in Tauber is first and foremost a celebrated singer. Film is a medium in which sound tends to be balanced technologically, but this suits his gentle falsetto conclusion to the song.
Shots are intercut showing details of the emotional impact his performance is having on the audience. The device of montage presents a sequence of different shots from which we interpret what is going on and build a picture of the whole an idea of the space of the room, for instance. The film was a triumph commercially, as well as being well received by critics, and that encouraged Stein to follow it up with My Song Goes Round the World , a film starring another famous tenor, Josef Schmidt.
British and American companies became keen to make film versions of German operetta. The screenplay was by Samuel Hoffenstein and Walter Reisch from an original story by Gottfried Reinhardt, rather than the book that Moss Hart had written for the Broadway production of Broadway choreographer Albertina Rasch was, however, re-engaged to supervise dances and ensembles. The film begins with an on-screen announcement:. It is poorly attended and going badly. They have to leave, but by now a large crowd has gathered outside.
Around twenty minutes into the film, there is a dramatic cut from the sensual abandon of a waltz to a decorous minuet in an aristocratic hall. Carla sings it, tactfully avoiding announcing that it is a waltz.
The polite audience looks shocked as the waltz rhythm kicks in, but — astonishingly — they are won over. Carla is an irrepressible vamp, although her voice is what one might imagine if Ethel Merman had been a coloratura soprano. The film plot shares some resemblance to Waltzes from Vienna in being a love triangle between Strauss, his down-to-earth sweetheart, Poldi, and the sophisticated, high-society woman, but it also includes scenes of Strauss marching with the revolutionaries of to his own march. Later, facing a blockage of barricades, he ends up in a carriage with Carla in the Vienna Woods and, naturally, it provides inspiration for his Tales from the Vienna Woods waltz in reality composed twenty years later.